Hmmmm, I bought this album after waiting nigh on a year for it. It was the first time in years that i was actually EXCITED about buying a record!
First the bad news....If you loved the original DIY versions of the singles 'It's My Own Cheating Heart that Makes Me Cry' ( one of my favourite songs of the decade, the guitar refrain makes me melt, and recorded perfectly for me on original release)and 'Geraldine' you might be a little disappointed.
Radio friendly re-recorded versions of these songs placed virtually at the start of the album kicks it off badly for me. The usual major label inteference. On first listen I was devastated.
But....The good news, the original versions of the above songs wouldnt have fitted into this 10 track opus in their original guise anyway and this actually isn't a bad thing.
The recording of this album (buy it on vinyl if you can) is lush, vibrant and many tracks (well, the first 5 anyway) segue into a victorious cacophony of atmospherics and crunching guitars.
For me the real victory in this recording is the downbeat final 3 tracks (Stabbed, S.A.D. Light and Ice Cream) which on listening usually a)terrify me and b) nearly have me in tears. And that takes something. Whoever came up with the idea of using the lyrics to their originally recorded version of 'Stabbed' then underpinning it with Beethovens 'Moonlight' Sonata should be awarded a chufty badge in my opinion. It works really well.
After my initial disappointment, I absolutely LOVE this record now. It wasnt what i was expecting, growing up listening to J.A.M.C., The Wolfhounds, MBV and The Wedding Present in the 80's, my ears are more tuned into abrasive and discordant music and in all honesty I was expecting an 80's indie album in the ilk of the previously mentioned especially after their first 2 singles, but for sheer emotion, power and honesty, this record returns in spades, especially with a nice bottle of red wine in tow.